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It is Dance Excellence Ballroom owner Stefan Dobrev’s goal to get people off of the couch watching Dancing with the Stars and into his ballroom to create their very own dancing adventure.
“Instead of watching what other people are doing and saying oh, I wish I could do that, you need to do it,” said Stefan. “People think with ballroom dancing you have to compete, but actually only 10 to 20% of students in the dance studio compete. The majority does dance for fun, health, and exercise. It teaches you how to communicate with a partner and shows you how to work together. It’s a great date night activity for couples who want to bring that flame back up.”
Dobrev, a dancer since the age of 7 and a Bulgarian National Dance Champion, prides himself of having a studio both his students and instructors enjoy coming to. Eight full-time instructors, and a ninth coming on by year’s end, are not only certified, but are required to participate in continuous education, with their skills tested every 6 to 8 months.
Ballroom students range from ages 17 to 80, and through a structured program, can check their progress, right along with their instructor. Dobrev himself tests the students to make sure they are getting everything they wanted out of their lessons.
Dobrev says, “We are trying to create a community. We love that we are growing, and the best part is sometimes we actually have difficulty getting our students out of here; they love being here that much. We’ve been here since 12 o’clock and it’s now 10 o’clock at night; we have to go home, I tell them.”
Opened in November 2014, Dobrev is pleased to have created a place where people can meet, form friendships, and find people with similar interests and hobbies. “It’s so inspirational and that’s what I wanted to create – a place where people want to come to – whether they are teachers or students.”
At Dance Excellence Ballroom, clients can learn both International and American Style Ballroom dances, including Salsa, Cha Cha, Rumba, Jive, Samba, Tango, Waltz, Viennese Waltz, Quickstep, and Swing. Lessons are available privately or in a group class setting and you don’t need to bring a partner, unless you want to.
“What I love about dancing is it is something no one can take away from you,” said Dobrev. “It’s like education. When you learn, it’s not the certification document; it’s the experience throughout time that makes you what you are. Unlike hobbies like golf or tennis, with dancing you don’t need a special place. If there is music, you can dance.”
When asked if there was ever a person that Dobrev couldn’t teach to dance, he responded decisively. “No. Everyone can learn how to dance, but it depends on the level that they want to learn and how much time that they want to invest, and how good they want to be.”
Besides looking skilled on any dance floor, the benefits of ballroom dancing come in four main categories: Ballroom dancing is a social experience, as ‘partner dancing’ requires communication and teamwork, and helps create friendships and community. Even some romantic relationships have been born from holding hands and consciously listening and responding to the moves of your dance partner.
Ballroom dancing is mentally stimulating, necessitating listening, planning, sequential learning and problem solving. According to research, like the 2003 Bronx Aging Study, activities that challenge the mind may prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s in older adults. Because ballroom dancing involves precise physical activity, listening to the beats in music, remembering dance steps, and taking your partner into account, it is mentally challenging.
Emotionally, ballroom dance helps build confidence and poise, and can help people overcome shyness.
And finally, ballroom dancing is as physical as going to the gym to work out; however, less stressful on the body. “Ballroom dancing is easier on the muscles and joints, but still you get plenty of exercise,” Dobrev said. “It makes you very disciplined because you have to repeat the moves over and over and over again.”
On September 26th eleven students of Dance Excellence showed off their dancing and competed in the Tampa Bay Classic at Hilton Carillon Park. This level of partcipation in a local competitive event is a tremendous accomplishment when you consider this dance studio has been open for less than a year.
Long-term, Dobrev hopes to start an afterschool program for children to share the values he learned growing up in ballroom dancing.
“Dancing is about being a gentleman and a lady,” said Dobrev. “The lady has a grace and poise. The man has dignity and is a gentleman. You walk on the dance floor and take your lady with you. You bow before you start dancing. You take her in your arms and move across the floor. You finish the dance and you bow again to your dance partner. It teaches you so many things of how to communicate as a team.” “Dancing is not about knowing steps – it’s a way of life.”
Dance Excellence Ballroom is located in the Oldsmar Plaza at 3730 Tampa Road, Suite 7. They are open Monday through Friday 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. They will be having a movie-theme dance showcase on November 13. For more information about group or private lessons or dance parties, visit www.DanceExcellenceBallroom.com or call (813) 814-0099.